Joint Committee On Human Rights Written Evidence

4. Memorandum from Professor Christine Bell and Dr Inez McCormack, former Commissioners of the NIHRC

  An effective human rights commission was a key part of the human rights dimension to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement; this human rights dimension was critical to securing agreement, and its delivery in practice is critical to the difficult task of building peace and addressing division in Northern Ireland. On 8 May 2000, the then Secretary of State, Peter Mandelson MP, stated that Northern Ireland "is now transforming itself into a world leader in the protection and promotion of human rights." In referring to the Nothern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) he stated that it was "potentially a radical and ground breaking body, the depth and weight of whose work I hope will grow. It is one of the key pillars of Northern Ireland's rights culture." [1]Sadly however, one of the greatest obstacles to the Commission's operation has been the government's lack of commitment to ensuring that the Commission lives up to the vision set out in the Agreement of a Commission "independent of Government, with an extended and enhanced role beyond that currently exercised by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights . . ." [2]

  We recognise in preparing this submission that any criticism of the Commission might be used by those hostile to human rights and/or the Agreement, to undermine both. However, it has been our experience that paper commitments to human rights which are not implemented, also stand to undermine both the Agreement and human rights protection generally. Constructive criticism of the NIHRC is vital to ensuring its effectiveness in the future and it is that vein that we are making this submission. We believe that it is of primary importance that the Joint Committee affirms the importance of an effective human rights commission in Northern Ireland. We would argue that any problems which currently exist are capable of being addressed, and require to be addressed, in particular, by the British and Irish governments. We would submit that the Joint Committee take whatever steps are within its power to ensure that this happens.

1.   Background to submission

  This submission is made by Professor Christine Bell, University of Ulster, and Dr Inez McCormack, Regional Secretary, UNISON, both in a personal capacity. Both were appointed as Commissioners to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) from the Commission's inception in March 1999. On 9 September 2002 they resigned variously citing: the lack of powers and resources available to the Commission, the Commission's lack of strategic direction and ineffectiveness, and concerns about the Bill of Rights process, all of which are pertinent to the Joint Committee's short investigation. [3]

  The Joint Committee's short inquiry into the NIHRC is examining:

    —  The Commission's Effectiveness

    —  The Powers of the Commission

    —  The Commission's Resources

    —  The Development of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland

  The following submission sets out suggested bases for evaluating the Commission and then evaluates the Commission using those bases. The submission documents the Commission's successes. The submission then concentrates on a critique of the Commission, drawing on the experience of the above two Commissioners, while attempting to honour to the fullest extent possible the internal nature of some Commission processes and the principle of respect for colleagues. This critique concentrates on the failure of the NIHRC to carve out a sufficiently strategic direction to enable it to effectively promote and protect rights. In conclusion the submission sets out some observations and recommendations.

2.   The basis for evaluating the Commission

  The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was established in 1999 as a result of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. The Agreement's provision for the Commission set out the baseline against which the Commission should be evaluated. The Commission was to be "independent of Government, with an extended and enhanced role beyond that currently exercised by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights . . ." [4]The second basis for evaluating the Commission, is the United Nations' "Paris Principles" relating to National Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Rights. [5]The critique set out below will use both the Agreement and the Paris Principles as its basis for evaluating the Commission.

  The Commission should also be evaluated at a deeper level in terms of its capacity to fulfil the underlying aims of the Paris Principles, and the Agreement, namely: to effectively promote and achieve better human rights protections in practice, and to build peace in Northern Ireland, by building the Agreement's core values of equality, rights and fair and equal participation by all communities. In this, best practice can also be looked, drawing on the experience of other National Institutions. Both the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the International Council on Human Rights have produced useful recommendations for National Human Rights Institutions which can serve as benchmarks against which to evaluate such institutions. [6]Another possible basis for evaluating the Commission is against the core values to which the Commission itself committed to adhering. These are values of independence, fairness, openness, accessibility, accountability, participation and equality. [7]

3.   Commission Successes

  Using the Agreement and the Paris Principles, the Commission had clear successes. The Commission has been a much more accessible organisation than the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR). It meets regularly with a wide range of groups and individuals, and has been involved in training and matters which bring it into the heart of communities. The advantages of a full-time Commissioner have been seen in the visibility of the Chief Commissioner. The Chief Commissioner regularly meets with groups and individuals within the Commission and in locations all over Northern Ireland. The Bill of Rights consultation initiated by the Commission has been successful in widening the participation of civic society with relation to human rights. Procedurally, the Commission has begun to establish its own procedures and criteria. Strategic plans have been generated as have working practices for Committees. Substantively, the Commission can point to successes with respect to the different functions and powers of the Commission. They will be dealt with more fully below, but in chief they include: good reports to international bodies, good reports on legislation and policy, some casework successes, and substantial engagement with diverse communities through the bill of rights training and consultation process.

  The Commission's successes are well set out in its own annual reports. [8]The remainder of this submission therefore concentrates on a constructive critique of the Commission's operations up until the point of the authors' resignation. Crucially, we argue that the Commission has thus far failed to build a broader strategic direction which would enable its successes to "become the catalyst for institutional change" thus demonstrating that the NIHRC is "both independent and influential" and capable of "ensuring the centrality of human rights to future developments in Northern Ireland." [9]At the present point of time, the Commission's very visibility and the expectations which this has raised, mean that this failure arguably stands to damage the Commission more deeply than had it been a lower profile body such as SACHR. It further stands to foster a lasting cynicism as to the capacity of National Institutions to protect and promote rights, which damages these institutions locally and internationally. Like SACHR the Commission has problems with its independence and perceptions of independence. In practical terms, it is arguably less effective than SACHR. While SACHR was routinely ignored so is the Commission. [10]For a significant part of its existence so far, the Commission has had less powers with regard to amicus curiae and third party interventions, and considerable public money (from the Coroner's Office and not the NIHRC, estimated around £120,000) and NIHRC time has been spent clarifying this power. While SACHR managed key projects to successful conclusion, chiefly two major reviews of Fair Employment legislation, the Commission is, in our opinion, currently in danger of damaging the prospects of a successful Bill of Rights process, and has no other major project successes to point to. This stands to damage the Commission's reputation with the constituencies it has built relationships with during the consultation process.

  It is important to reiterate that the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement made it clear that the Commission was to have "an extended and enhanced role beyond that currently exercised by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights" (emphasis added), and expectations were that it would be a much stronger and more effective body, not one which struggled to compare favourably.

4.   Powers and Resources

4.1  Powers

  From the initial drafting of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, there were concerns about the Commission's lack of powers. In particular, there was a concern that certain powers which were asserted by the government to be implicit, (such as the power of third party intervention), required to be made explicit in the legislation. Secondly, there were concerns that the lack of investigative powers made the Commission a toothless tiger, and was inconsistent with the United Nations' Paris Principles on National Institutions for Promoting and Protecting Rights. [11]

  The government's response to the implicit powers problem was to provide statements in Hansard, which it was thought at the time would help save them from attack. [12]As regards the lack of investigation powers, the government stated that public bodies would comply with all investigations and requests for information, and that an investigative power was therefore unnecessary. [13]However, as a safeguard it was provided that after two years the Commission was to review its own operations with a view to considering its powers and functions indicating that issues such as this could be revisited. [14]The former initiative proved ineffective when in December 2000 the Court of Appeal Northern Ireland found that the NIHRC had no power to take third party interventions. [15]Co-operation with investigations was tested and certain bodies were found not to comply. [16]In response to the NIHRC's recommendation for investigative powers, the government considered that its current powers had not been adequately tested and this will be dealt with in "Review of Powers" below.

  The NIHRC's two year review set out in great detail and clarity the Commission's review of its powers. [17]The government failed to respond for 15 months. When they did respond they did so in the form of a consultation document which rejected all but a few minor recommendations. [18]In the meantime a victory in a House of Lords case reinstated the power of third party intervention. [19]The NIHRC read the decision as underwriting implicit powers beyond the power of third party intervention, and in its response to the government consultation document on powers, dropped its request for other day-to-day functions (such as responses to international bodies) to be made explicit. [20]In hindsight, we have some concern as to whether this was a wise course of action. The main problems with powers at the Commission's inception remain, namely a lack of explicit powers for many core functions, and a lack of investigative powers.

4.2  Resources

  Over the Commission's operation the resources issue has become critical. During the Commission's operation it has become evident that even any type of coherent shoe-string operation is impossible on the Commission's total budget of £750,000. A practice has developed whereby the NIO does give more money—around £400,000 more. However, this is negotiated as a "supplementary bid", and in accordance with accepted procedures for public bodies the detail of the bid has to be spelt out in full and a process of negotiation takes place as the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) considers whether the proposals are satisfactory or could be achieved in a more cost-effective way. While this may seem an appropriate way to deal with additional monies in some publicly funded areas, it has serious implications for the independence of a human rights commission, particularly where the core funding covers only basic projects and overheads and all project funding is bid for this way. It in effect gives the government direct control over what projects should be carried forward, and the shape in which they are carried forward.

4.3  Lack of government support

  In addition government lack of support for, or co-operation with the Commission, has greatly hampered the Commission's work. This is documented thoroughly in the Commission's review of powers document, and in the Hosking's Review. [21]To these critiques must be added government failure to defend its own appointments process and outcome, or the Commission. [22]As a human rights non-governmental organisation (Committee on the Administration of Justice) has argued with relation to the government review of powers,

    "government should have shouldered its responsibilities in the matter either by defending its appointment vigorously or, if it thought necessary, recognising that there was some problem and remedying any perceived deficits. Instead the Commission was considerably weakened in the public arena from the outset and government has made insufficient efforts to staunch or remedy the damage. By its silence and, on occasion, lukewarm support, government has contributed to a weakening of one of the key institutions created by the Good Friday Agreement." [23]

  This governmental ambivalence further contributed to a climate whereby individual Commissioners and the Commission as a whole were subjected to sustained personal criticism, in the media, but more pertinently, under cover of Parliamentary privilege. This resulted in pressure, including fear of personal safety, which is unusual in service on most public bodies.

  In conclusion, the powers and resources issue was present from the Commission's outset. However, a commitment was made to address any deficits through the mechanism of the two year review. The government's failure to acknowledge key deficits in powers and resources or to establish a relationship different to that with SACHR, evidences a rowing back on the mission of establishing a "human rights commission independent of Government, with an extended and enhanced role beyond that ... exercised by the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights."

Example: Resources and lack of independence

  In a letter dated 14 May 2002, from NIO (Claire Salters) to the Commission, as regard investigations the government stated:

    "Ministers are content, in principle, to provide the funding for the investigations into the inquest system and controversial deaths. However, they have a genuine concern that this work must not prejudice future legal proceedings or cut across work being done by others, including the international judge . . . Release of the £30,000 associated with these investigations is therefore conditional upon your supplying further particulars and agreeing with us in advance the terms of reference for these reviews so that we can satisfy Ministers that no such problems could arise."

  While concerns about prejudicing legal proceedings are valid, it is questionable whether the appropriate way to deal with it is by Ministers reviewing Commission terms of reference. Concern about the role of the Weston Park "independent judge" mechanism is more problematic. This was a politically agreed mechanism which, it can be argued, for certain cases, merely inserts a further level of delay and a question mark over the government's compliance with its European Convention on Human Rights Article 2 (Right to Life) requirement for an "effective official investigation". The Commission should surely act independently of government, and even of the independent judge, in assessing whether it believes Article 2 has been complied with. Therefore, it is submitted that government vetting of the Commission's position with regard to Article 2 is a direct attack on Commission independence.


  The Commission's original review of powers document should be implemented in full.

5.   The Commission's Effectiveness

  The power and resources issue was present from the outset. However, a significant impediment to effectiveness has been the Commission's own strategic and management failures. While some initial teething problems could and should have been expected, the Commission has now been established almost four years, and could be expected to be finding its feet. Instead, at time of resigning it was exhibiting all the signs of a dysfunctional institution, increasingly incapable of coherently addressing its own problems and fulfilling the charge given it in the Agreement and the Northern Ireland Act 1998. This has undermined the Commission's attempts to secure additional powers and resources, and is also particularly damaging to the Bill of Rights process.

  This strategic failure permeates all of the Commission's work. The Commission has generated two strategic plans. The first was a draft strategic plan covering 1999-2002. [24]The second, was a post-consultation final plan covering the period 2000-02, and adopted in May 2000. [25]At the time of resigning a third strategic plan had been issued, the draft strategic plan 2002-06. [26]This last plan was issued for consultation without internal Commission discussion (although versions had been circulated for written comment).

  The initial draft plan generated by the Commission was very general in nature covering almost every conceivable human rights issue. This broad plan drove committee criteria (where they existed) for over a year. The resulting plan for 2000-02 responded to criticisms that the draft plan was overbroad by identifying specific work already planned under each of the functions. This second plan is striking in its failure to set out specific human rights goals to be achieved, and by the lack of a "joined up" approach to strategies for achieving them. This pattern is repeated in the new draft strategic plan. The goals identified by the Commission are arguably actions without goals.

  It is submitted that after an initial discussion as to strategic direction, lasting around a year, whereupon Commissioners could not agree to clear priorities, strategic plans have become a method of outlining work in progress rather than addressing strategic direction. They have not been the subject of detailed Commission discussion as to broader goals and strategies, neither have they set out these goals or strategies. Surprisingly perhaps, after the early days when discussion took place with relation to staffing, the Commission did not discuss what it was trying to achieve in a broader sense, and what tools might best be used to achieve it. There was never direct discussion of whether case work or investigations, or report writing, were more effective strategies, or the context in which each might be most effective. A communications strategy—vital to the often hostile environment in which the Commission operated—was proposed and accepted in the early days of the Commission, but at the point of leaving had still not been implemented. The Commission has had virtually no discussion as to how it might work to implement any of its recommendations or the results of any successful cases. This type of discussion was also scarce to non-existent at committee level, where it tended to be eclipsed by reactive work.

Example: Investigations and the right to life

  Over its first three years the casework committee funded a range of inquest cases raising issues about investigations into killings in which the state was in some way involved (eg because the person was in custody at the time). A large number of people also came to the Commission raising the lack of official investigation in cases dating from the early 1970s, to the current day. The Commission also submitted a third party intervention in the case of Jordan, Kelly, McKerr and Shanaghan to the European Court of Human Rights, on article 2, right to life issues and the lack of official investigations. The court found a violation of the right to life and relied in part on the Commission's submission. [27]However, the Commission instituted no procedure of review of the implementation of the decision. Neither did it review the implications of the decision for its own on-going work on related issues, such as inquests. At the 10 June 2002 Commission meeting, a decision was made to follow up the Jordan case and a Commissioner (Christine Bell) requested to draft terms of reference for such a review, which were forwarded to the Commission the following day. These terms of reference were never passed to the relevant staff. Staff subsequently independently produced a proposal for a project of review, which was accepted by the investigations committee. However, the Chief Commissioner, along with others then voted against the caseworker being released from some hours of casework tasks to complete the review. At the time of resigning it was unclear if, and how, a basic review of the implications of one of the Commission's few casework successes would take place, either with a view to informing other work undertaken by the Commission, or with respect to implementation of the decision more generally.

5.1  Legislation and Policy Committee

  At the level of the Committee's work strategic direction proved similarly difficult, and was in essence absent. The legislation committee operated for almost three years without any criteria for what legislation would be reviewed. Legislation seemed to be selected for review according to high quality guidance as to human rights issues from staff, but finally resting on the interests and priorities of whichever Commissioners were present for a meeting. Written criteria for selecting intervention and depth of intervention were not developed until Spring 2002, and were to be further amended at the time of resigning. There was no Commission-level discussion of the overall goals of legislation and policy work or the criteria it was adopting, or comparison with criteria in other areas. For example, there was no Commission policy discussion or decision as regards the relative merits of prioritising devolved or Westminster legislation. Current criteria are linked to the strategic plan, which gives little to no guidance for what should be filtered out. There is little or no follow up of reports submitted and no systematic recording of what recommendations have been taken up by government.

  Substantively there is no doubt that the legislation and policy committee has made a large number of high quality submissions on human rights with respect to legislation, policy and practice. These are, for the most part, available on the Commission website. The impact of those recommendations has been minimal, as the review of powers document and the Hoskings Review demonstrates. This cannot, of course, be laid at the door of the Commission, who have little control over what happens to its recommendations. It is, however, disappointing evidence of a relationship between government and the NIHRC which is reminiscent of SACHR, and which was at the heart of criticisms of SACHR. [28]The Hoskings Review was also critical of the Commission's lack of follow-up, and we share this criticism. [29]This review stated:

    "There has been a tendency for the Commission to allow its reports to speak for themselves, and not to follow up or promote its perspective with the authority concerned. Partly, this seems to be because the Commission is concerned that such engagement may compromise its independence and, partly, it results from the Commission, particularly the personnel working in the legislation and policy area, being too busy to follow up its outputs, which, to a degree, reflects a lack of prioritisation in the Commission's work." [30]

5.2  Casework Committee

  The casework committee did use criteria as to which cases to fund, which were periodically reviewed and amended. Again these criteria were deficient in so far as they were linked to the initial draft strategic plan, and this was overly broad. This meant that in the first few years it was difficult to justify turning down any case where there was a clear human right in issue. While a broad approach may have been justifiable in the Commission's early days until a case profile was developed, from the end of the second year, at least, sufficient information and experience were present to enable a more strategic approach. Despite the best efforts of the caseworker, this was not achieved. As a result, the casework committee has for the most part in its first three and a half years, funded solicitors (with varied human rights experience) to undertake a random selection of cases, with no control over how human rights issues are addressed in court. [31]Indeed the understaffing of casework has meant that often the Commission has no-one in attendance at key cases it has funded, and receives little feedback on the case.

  Separate criteria were developed for amicus briefs, cases taken in the Commission's own name, and for third party interventions. In each case criteria were developed in a reactive way. However, there were persistent difficulties to developing a strategic direction mostly as a result of failing to direct resources to that end, rather than to reactive work. There was no overall strategy developed for what type of intervention would be most effective to what end. Thus, there were no initial criteria for considering which "track" (that is, case in own name, fully funded assistance, or amicus or third party intervention) was most appropriate to each case application. The disasters of this were illustrated this September when an urgent request to fund a case was received from a person who had attempted suicide and whose attempts was being shown, without permission, on a television show. Without detracting from the seriousness of the issue for the individual; nevertheless, hard questions about the Commission's actions need to be asked. The requisite number of Commissioners agreed in a last minute "phone round" that the case should be taken. The case and an appeal undertaken by the Commission (it is submitted unwisely) were lost with costs awarded against the Commission leading to expected legal fees of at least £30,000. When the decision was probed it seemed that no-one involved had considered whether funding the case was a key part of the strategy. Had the Commission made a third party intervention it could only have been liable for the more modest costs which that intervention occurred. This option had not been dismissed, it had simply not been considered; Commissioners had apparently "forgotten" that the Commission had regained its power of third party intervention. While it would be easy to blame those involved, in the absence of clear governing criteria, decisions such as this are inevitable, no matter how competent those taking them.

  When the Commission's first case in its own name is considered it is not convincing strategically. This case involved the decision to challenge the naming of the Omagh bomb suspects on television as violating their future rights to a fair trial and privacy. It was taken as a response to an "urgent request" and accordingly consent of Commissioners took place by individual phone call as there was no time for a meeting to discuss the issues. It has to be questioned whether this rather random process, involving no Commissioner discussion, was the best way for the Commission to establish its one clearly "new" power—the power to take cases in its own name. Furthermore, while the Commission cannot only take popular cases, again the subject matter of this particular case made it particularly unlikely to garner any level of public support or understanding of underlying issues. A good communications strategy (even minimal, pending allocation of further funds), could have also worked to advise the casework committee on a pro-active casework strategy which enabled the Commission to further broaden human rights goals.

  A final problem remains with regard to legal aid. The provision in the regulations governing the provision of legal aid in Northern Ireland requires the Legal Aid Department to refuse to grant legal aid in a particular case if another body, such as the Human Rights Commission, is available to grant assistance. Currently Legal Aid appear to be routinely refusing legal aid in cases where there are human rights issues pending a decision from the NIHRC. However, the NIHRC also has a criterion which prevents it funding if the applicant is entitled to legal aid, and indeed there would seem to be little strategic value in the Commission funding cases which could be taken anyway, given that it in practice has no other involvement in the running of the case. Repeatedly the casework committee and staff member asked for a memorandum of understanding to be signed with legal aid to resolve this matter, which was raised as a problem in the Review of Powers submission. [32]However, this has not been done. The net result is that applicants who are eligible for legal aid and have cases involving human rights issues are in fact being negatively affected by the existence of the NIHRC. They are forced to make an application to the Commission which has no chance of success, and suffer the time delay necessary to the Commission reaching this decision.

  At the time of resigning, the casework committee was operating:

    —  Without criteria for which "track" a case should be put in, or any strategy as regards whether funding an applicant's solicitor, undertaking a third party intervention or taking a case in its own name was the best approach;

    —  Without criteria for selecting cases for funding which would enable any broader strategic goals to be achieved;

    —  Without any capacity to link casework strategies with other aspects of the Commission's work;

    —  Without any process or attempt to follow through case decisions where the Commission funded the case (apart from abortive Jordan et al follow up as discussed above).

    —  Without any clear recording of casework successes (including, for example, changes in policy which repeatedly arose due to pre-case casework inquiries);

    —  With case-work procedure being changed as a result of casework committee decisions which were controversial[33];

    —  Remaining vulnerable to judicial review with respect to funding decisions due to having no clear basis for deciding on "prospects of success" where there is disagreement between casework committee views and senior counsel opinions, or conflict between opinions;

    —  With no resolution of the legal aid issue.


  The Commission needs outside help in developing a coherent casework strategy. It also requires a clearer commitment on the part of the committee chair (Chief Commissioner) to implementing a strategic approach. Internal committee processes, coupled with barrister's opinions on casework criteria have not been sufficient to develop a coherent approach. The resourcing issue is also key here. The current caseworker has resigned and a senior lawyer on pay scale realistic enough to attract a high calibre candidate, and with appropriate support staff is necessary. [34]However, a more general addressing of the problems of the Commission are needed to ensure that casework is a tool in the Commission's overall strategies and not an end in itself.

5.3  Investigations Committee

  The investigations committee has undertaken one formal investigation, In our Care: Promoting the Rights of Children in Custody investigating the care of children detained in juvenile justice centres in Northern Ireland. [35]However, there has been a tendency for an unclear distinction between report writing and investigating. This is in part attributable to the Commission's lack of investigative powers which mean that the tools available for investigations are merely those tools available for research generally. However, it can also be argued that the Commission should have taken the Hansard statement of co-operation more seriously. This would have involved establishing criteria for when different levels of investigations would be triggered, and a communications strategy for launching investigations. This was not done, despite repeated requests again reflecting a management rather than a staff failure.

  While the Commission has no powers to obtain information which it would require, it can be argued that it has failed to demonstrate the responsibility necessary to having those powers. It has failed to create an integrated approach to investigations and other functions (see Jordan Right to Life example above). It has failed to construct investigations so as to test the cooperation of public bodies in a systematic way, and follow up with judicial review. This has enabled government to dismiss the recommendation for increased powers (see further below).

5.4  Education Committee

  This cannot be addressed as fully, as neither of the resigning commissioners had involvement in the Committee. However, education work was not targeted in the first draft strategic plan, but was first mentioned in the 2000-02 strategic plan, where it was announced that a full time education worker had been appointed. This work evolved from a working group and later committee on education, and has developed at the Committee level with little to no Commission discussion. While much of the education work undertaken has been valuable, again it has been developed in a segmented way, often divorced from other work, for example the Bill of Rights process, and in the absence of broader goals.

Example: Burns Report Interventions

  The Burns Report was published opening up a debate about academic selection and the "grammar school"/"secondary school" divisions. While there were potential human rights implications these were never discussed by the Commission. Neither were the goals or benefits in the Commission entering the Burns Report debate. Nevertheless at a Commission meeting as a matter of report, Commissioners were told that the Commission would host a meeting in which key opponents of selection would speak on the Commission's platform. A detailed report was submitted by the Commission to the review process its second point stating that the academic selection exam "came close to a breach of Article 3"—the ECHR right not to be tortured or inhumanly or degradingly treated—without citing any evidence. [36]The report was circulated with little time for Commissioners to comment before submission. Considerable resources were spent in the Burns strategy without any prioritisation of this as an issue for the Commission to look at. Informal discussions with supporters of Burns who attended the Commission's event indicated that while they thought it was a good day, they "did not really understand the Commission's role in the issue." This would indicate that strategy may have been particularly counterproductive with those who opposed Burns. The criticism of the lack of strategy to the Burns intervention is made by Commissioners who happen to support the Burns recommendations.

5.5  Victims Committee

  The Victims Committee arose from a concern by some Commissioners that the Commission had to, in some way, deal with the legacy of past conflict. Furthermore the Victims' Committee arose as a means of responding to interventions by victims groups (which happened to a great extent during the Commission's initial six months) and also of developing the Commission's work on non-state abuses by building on the consensus within the Commission as to the importance of addressing victims' needs. However, the Committee was repeatedly fraught with problems which often played out the wider Northern Ireland conflict on a tiny stage. Most problematically, the Committee operated with little reference to international standards and at times an antipathy to victims of state human rights abuses. Thus, there was opposition to putting members of families of the "Bloody Sunday" victims on the bill of rights working group, even though these families had the only direct experience of a broad legal mechanism for dealing with the past, in the jurisdiction—an experience useful to other victims. Recently, the Victims Committee became involved in the memorials dispute, again with no attempt to try to find some legal or "best practice" human rights approach to the issue.

  There was consensus amongst the Commissioners that the Victims Committee had an important role in reaching out to the Protestant/Unionist community. However, this should have involved positive action to that end, and not the predominant strategy of excluding those who had been victims of state use of force. Furthermore, to be effective, it also needed to be part of an overall strategy of engaging communities who appear to be wary of the Commission. Such a strategy was non-existent, and indeed in elements of the Commission's work seemed undercut such a strategy (see Burns example, and casework examples above). The victims issue was always going to be a difficult one for the Commission and that is accepted. However, the failure to try to acknowledge that the debates tearing the Commission apart, were the same difficult debates that were tearing different communities apart, and to try to find new ways of approaching the issues, negated the value for the Commission in addressing this issue at all.

  The Commission's on-going failure to carve out an area of intervention defined by human rights frameworks (included in the Committee's criteria[37]), as opposed to ad hoc "victims" interventions, is problematic for an organisation with a clear mandate and a limited budget. The one clear research project commissioned was not managed to conclusion. The worker's contract ended in spring 2001 and the report was still not completed at time of resigning.


  A process needs to be instituted whereby the Commission is freed from its initial decisions and committee structures and the need to continue all lines of work, as initially conceived of, in perpetuity. The increasingly expanding areas of education and victims provide good examples of a Commission moving well beyond its human rights mandate, so as to make "sensible" interventions in areas where some Commissioners instinctively feel there are human rights issues, without any Commission discussion of what those issues are, whether and how they should be prioritised, or what the underlying goal with respect to the intervention is. In this, the Commission can be charged with not using its resources effectively.

5.6  Bill of Rights

  Unlike other projects, the NIHRC was directly tasked with the Bill of Rights project by the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement. While an obvious course of action for an organisation pressed for resources would have been to collapse many of the Commission's goals with respect to human rights education, public awareness, communications strategy, and review of policy and practice, into a strong Bill of Rights consultation process, the Commission repeatedly decided not to go in this direction. As a result the Bill of Rights project has not received the internal allocation of resources (in time, thought or money) it requires, and has not been clearly managed as a project within the Commission. It is important to stress that this has not just damaged the Commission, but it has damaged the very idea of a Bill of Rights process as a valuable part of the peace process, and the vision of a coherent Bill of Rights as an attainable or valuable document. This is all the more troubling given the cross-community, cross-party consensus pre-peace process that a Bill of Rights would be a "good thing". The Commission's first draft Bill has been widely criticised and it is clear that it has failed to garner clear support among any community. [38]This Bill contained many different "options" all of which reflected the failure of Commissioners to agree on fundamental matters. These included key issues such as enforcement, and the relationship between the power-sharing arrangements in the Agreement and rights.

  In moving towards any new drafting process it was clear that the Commission had no strategy for moving towards agreement among Commissioners on these difficult issues; had no clear strategy for dealing with lack of political engagement; and had no clear strategy for how the fruits of the extensive consultation process should inform the Commission.

  At the time of resigning the following problems pertained:

    —  The Commission was at a loss as to how to move forward, and deeply divided over whether and how to engage politicians

    —  The Chief Commissioner did not support outside facilitation of the Commission's deliberations

    —  Civic society were becoming increasingly disengaged due to frustration at the Commission's lack of direction and lack of apparent commitment to the process

    —  The Bill of Rights project remained with no overall "manager" responsible for seeing the project to its conclusion, apart from the Chief Commissioner and the Chief Executive (and here the division of responsibilities was unclear.) (The comparison with different Fair Employment Reviews by SACHR, is stark.)


  The Bill of Rights project needs to be re-built around dialogue between and among politicians and civic society. The project needs to be competently managed so as to build trust rather than division, and it needs human rights stewardship to ensure that any resulting document builds on, rather than dismantles, current gains in human rights and peacebuilding. In our opinion this requires new independent highly expert chairing, facilitation and secretariat with an international dimension, working to principles such as those set out by the Commission (see Appendix IV attached). The Commission should continue the consultation/education process, it should be a point of liaison between the fruits of that process and the new Chair, and should be the body which submits the final advice to government, as contemplated by the Agreement.

5.7  International Work

  The Commission has engaged in a wide range of international work. This has included hosting international conferences in conjunction, for example, with the British Council; the Chief Commissioner attending international conferences; and attendance at meetings of "National Institutions for Promoting and Protecting Rights". It has also made submissions to international human rights monitoring bodies. [39]While often of high quality, under pressure of work international submissions have often been produced at the last minute, have involved a minimal consultation with relevant groups within civic society, and have not had time for anything other than emailed comments from Commissioners, with little prior notice. It was not until July 2002, under pressure from the resigning Commissioners, that a draft strategy for international work was produced and discussed. [40]It remains to be seen whether this will address problems. It is doubtful whether, without a radical overhaul, the Commission will move beyond filing well written reports with international bodies, to a more strategic role of using those interventions to push for change domestically, and to build up alliances with, and expertise of, civic society. The one example of the Commission directly using international standards pressure to influence domestic practices has been problematic. This has been the Commission's involvement of a staff member of the Office of the High Commissioner on National Minorities to endorse the use of the word "community" rather than minority. The Commission then interpreted this to replace the word minority in Framework Convention provisions with the word community, in a way which potentially placed equality issues and the consociational voting mechanisms of the Agreement in jeopardy. [41]

5.8  Review of powers

  The powers and resources of the Commission remain a critical issue. However, the Commission has greatly undermined its own case for receiving more powers and resources. It is difficult for the Commission to argue persuasively for more resources given the following:

    —  The Commission strategy for spending its current resources is incoherent. There is no clear basis for prioritising work. Work is mostly reactive, and key initiatives are progressed without Commissioners jointly agreeing to them. Other areas of clear priority agreed by Commissioners, (see review of Jordan example), are not implemented.

    —  The government claims that the Commission has misused past resources for projects for which they were not obtained. Prior to our resignations the Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive seemed to confirm that this had taken place, and that, for example, money allocated for a project for the elderly had been spent on other work. [42]Commissioners were not informed of this at the time, and therefore did not know it was happening, and had no capacity to address it. It is accepted that, if this did happen, that the government's approach to supplementary bids, can be viewed somewhat sympathetically. The government would naturally want to "contract" the Commission tightly into projects which were funded rather than fund them one year and be requested to fund them again the next. However, the point remains that approving terms of references for investigations constitutes an interference with independence. It is submitted that the correct approach would be to increase core funding to ease the over-reliance on supplementary bids, to address the Commission's management problems to ensure proper accounting, and then to trust the Commission and procedures for disciplining improper spending.

  It is difficult for the Commission to push for more powers given the following—

    —  It has not fully tested the powers which it has. Decisions to require information from the Director of Public Prosecution as regards decisions not to prosecute in cases where evidence of wrong-doing by the state, and to require information as regards past investigations by juvenile detention centres were not pursued using procedures which would have enabled subsequent judicial review. While these may well have failed the process would have demonstrated a clearer case for the powers to be made available to the Commission. The government's response to the request for these powers was that the case for needing information had not been properly made, and that judicial review had not been tried, and this defence has some basis. The government could of course act without waiting for this testing of powers which is not an efficient use of public resources.

    —  The Commission's capacity to use some additional extra powers of investigation competently, much less effectively, has been strongly challenged. This in part underlay the Commission's own decision to drop a recommendation that it should be given power to obtain warrants for search and seizure. [43]

5.9  General Management, Inter-Commissioner and Staffing Problems

  The Commission suffers from more general management problems. When examples are given these can seem minor and can be individually explained and justified. However, taken together they constitute a pattern which made working for the Commission difficult, for staff and Commissioners alike, and impacted negatively on interaction between staff and Commissioners and among Commissioners. First there were little clear fora for staff and Commissioners to meet. The Commission took a decision early on that staff other than the Chief Executive should not be present at Commission meetings. This was later amended so that staff could attend the discussion of the Committee minutes, although in practice such discussion often did not happen, or took place after staff had gone home. There is therefore no joint planning, no joint setting of goals, and a lack of support in staff implementation of Commission decisions. It has been our perception that many staff are increasingly unhappy in their jobs, and that certain basic employment procedures and practices have not been implemented. Staff have also clearly been frustrated at stalemates in Commission decision-making, lack of prioritisation, and lack of strategic direction.

  Commission meetings have become progressively longer, failed to complete the agenda, while involving little to no policy discussion. [44]Prior to resigning, Commission minutes had become an increasing point of tension, dispute and long discussion, as Commissioners tried to ascertain whether decisions had been implemented, and if not, why not, and whether lack of implementation was due to good reason, or was due to incompetence, overwork, or bad faith. As a result the Commission decided to record decisions rather than discussion, with implications for the Commission's commitment to openness through publication of minutes. At the same time key issues increasingly entered the Commission's agenda through the Chief Commissioner's report. [45]Repeated pleas from Commissioners that Commission meetings involve some discussion of human rights issues were not implemented. As a result there was no forum beyond the Committees for the development of Commission policy (with the exception of Bill of Rights discussions). This in turn resulted in policy being developed reactively, at the expense of consistency or pro-active strategy across the Commission's powers and functions. This impacted badly on the dynamics between Commissioners where increasing distrust and frustration meant that by the time of resignation rational decision-making seemed to have become almost impossible on many issues, but particularly the inevitable controversial issues. [46]

6.   What changes are needed?

  The reasons why the Commission is dysfunctional in its operation are complex and inter-related, involving a mix of structural (resourcing etc.) and management-related issues. However, it is suggested that at the time of resigning they were the following:

    —  A failure of sufficient powers and resources, which made obtaining strategic direction more important, and more difficult, than it otherwise might have been.

    —  A failure of government to establish a positive working relationship with the Commission, and support the Commission appropriately.

    —  A general management failure for which the Commission as a whole must bear some responsibility, but often attributable more directly to the Chief Commissioner and Chief Executive including:

      —  failure to establish internal policies and good practice as regards management of staff;

      —  failure to establish clear policies within committees and Commission aimed at strategic direction;

      —  failure to create a forum to ensure a "joined up" proactive approach to human rights protection;

      —  repeated failure to clarify roles of Commissioners and their relationship to staff, management and policy generation (despite repeated requests from Commissioners);

      —  failure to keep Commissioners fully informed of funding problems and issues;

      —  failure to adequately chair Commission meetings;

      —  failure to implement Commission decisions (for example, decision to have themed meetings for political parties in Stormont to facilitate involvement in Bill of Rights process);

      —  failure to create a decision-making structure which would enable Commissioners to disentangle from day-to-day management, and engage with substantive policy issues;

    —  A resultant distrust amongst Commissioners which is frustrating Commission decision-making;

    —  A resultant disaffection of Commissioners which is affecting attendance at meetings and corporate responsibility.

    —  An apparent resultant disaffection of highly committed and qualified staff.

    —  The Commission remaining "locked-in" to staffing and committee structures, and project design, all undertaken in its first eight months (some will be remedied by implementation of the Hosking Review, but this had at time of resigning now been slowed due to staff concerns).

    —  The Chief Commissioner's failure, by time of resigning, to accept that Commission had any serious strategic or management problems which were not being satisfactorily addressed. [47]

7.   Conclusion and Recommendations

  The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was considered an important institution by politicians negotiating an end to conflict in Northern Ireland. It is important to reiterate that it is a key institution whose success is critical to peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. If there are problems, then they must be addressed so that the Agreement's vision for the Commission can be implemented. We believe that these problems can be resolved if there is sufficient political will to resolve them. In conclusion we would like to offer the following comments and observations.

    (i)  The Commission from its inception was in the difficult position of having a broad mandate with no core definition of "human rights". Coupled with this it had an immediate high public profile. With the benefit of hindsight we suggest that such institutions should be established in "shadow" form for at least a six month period prior to formal establishment, with a mandate to develop internal staffing, working procedures and practices, and initial agendas during this time. Experience has taught us that it is difficult to develop organisation infrastructure while operating an open door policy and trying to raise the profile of the organisation. Problems or mistaken decisions developed at an early stage of the Commission's existence become difficult to "fix".

    (ii)  The Commission appointment process is critical to the kind of Commission which is established. The process and outcome in Northern Ireland can be criticised on different grounds. The Paris Principles set out requirements as to composition of the national institution. We suggest that these should be used to design an open and transparent appointment process. Human rights training needs to be a key requirement for Commissioners, and implemented before other work begins. This training should include input from vulnerable groups and those with direct experience of denial of rights.

    (iii)  Experience from the NIHRC and anecdotal comparative experience from elsewhere, in particular South Africa, indicates that the effectiveness of Human Rights Commissions often appears to be excessively dependent on the strategic management capabilities of the Chief Commissioner. More research is needed on models of corporate development of National Institutions, and a corporate culture which lift effectiveness beyond the role of one individual. In particular we suggest that the relationship between the strategic direction (or its absence) and issues of resources, mandate and political context, need to be more fully understood. Our experience would suggest that ineffectiveness is often a complex mix of these factors and that they need to be addressed simultaneously.

    (iv)  Commissions arise from different contexts. Not all of the problems encountered by the NIHRC would arise in a wider UK context, in this particular form. Research on human rights commissions suggest that Commissions typically arise in one of three circumstances: countries in transition from conflict (eg Northern Ireland, South Africa); countries where a commission is established to consolidate and underpin other human rights protections (eg Australia), and countries who come under pressure to respond to allegations of serious human rights abuses and find establishment of a commission a low cost way of doing so (eg Russian initiatives). [48]

        We suggest that the problems of a divided society, and the context of a transition from violence, place a human rights commission in a context where it has a role both in legitimising governmental structures, and also building common values across communal division. [49]These two goals often marry, but at times do not sit easily together. At some difficult points decisions will need to be taken on human rights grounds to ensure the legitimacy of political and legal institutions, which are unpopular with one community but not the other. A commission in this context needs to pay particular attention to the following: [50]

    —  The need to acquire legitimacy through credible work patterns, particular attention to casework strategies, and a clear communication strategy

    —  The need to be accessible to all without fear or favour, and to be proactive with relation to marginalised communities, women, and those who are particularly wary of the Commission

    —  The need to build strategies which use Commission's standpoint at the "crossroads of government and civil society" as a strength. This involves defining and delimiting the space they occupy in relation to other institutions that protect human rights, within and outside government.

    (v)  We submit that NIHRC's internal processes will not satisfactorily address its current problems and that a detailed externally commissioned review of the Commission is necessary. In our view, as an Agreement institution, the review should follow the Agreement's review mechanism and report to the British and Irish governments against principled baselines such as those outlined in this document.

    (vi)  Pending this review, aspects of the NIHRC's work (see eg casework recommendation) could benefit from immediate expert advice.

    (vii)  We reiterate the recommendations embedded in the text of the above submission, as set out below—

      —  The Commission's original review of powers document should be implemented in full

      —  The Commission needs outside help in developing a coherent casework strategy. Its internal processes, coupled with barristers' opinions on casework criteria have not been sufficient to develop a coherent approach. Further staff are required as is a clearer commitment on the part of the committee chair (Chief Commissioner) to implementing a strategic approach

      —  A process needs to be instituted whereby the Commission is freed from its initial decisions and committee structures and the need to continue all lines of work, as initially conceived of, in perpetuity.

      —  The Bill of Rights project needs to be re-built around dialogue between and among politicians and civic society. The project needs to be competently managed so as to build trust rather than division, and it needs human rights stewardship to ensure that any resulting document builds on, rather than dismantles, current gains in human rights and peacebuilding. In our opinion this requires new independent highly expert chairing, facilitation and secretariat, with an international dimension, working to principles such as those set out by the Commission (see Appendix IV attached). The Commission should continue the consultation/education process, it should be a point of liaison between the fruits of that process and the new Chair, and should be the body which submits the final advice to government, as contemplated by the Agreement.

    (viii)  In conclusion we return to our basic assertion that the Joint Committee on Human Rights should—

      —  Assert the importance of an effective human rights commission in Northern Ireland, and

      —  Take whatever steps are in their power to ensure that this is addressed by all parties to the Agreement, but in particular the two governments.

1   International Conference on Democracy, Equality and Human Rights, Belfast, 8 May 2000, cited in NIHRC (2001) Report to the Secretary of State Required by Section 69(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Belfast: NIHRC) (hereafter NIHRC Review of Powers) at 4-5. Back

2   Belfast Agreement, "New Institutions in Northern Ireland". Back

3   See Appendix I, Resignation letters of Christine Bell and Inez McCormack-not printed. Back

4   Belfast Agreement "New Institutions in Northern Ireland". Back

5   Principles relating to the Status and Functioning of National Institutions for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993, hereafter "Paris Principles", attached in Appendix II-not printed. Back

6   Commonwealth Secretariat (2001), National Human Rights Institutions: Best Practice (London: Commonwealth Secretariat); International Council on Human Rights Policy (2000) Performance and legitimacy: National Human Rights Institutions (Switzerland: International Council on Human Rights Policy). See further Institute of Public Policy Research (1998) A Human rights Commission: The Options for Britain and Northern Ireland (London: Institute for Public Policy Research) (outlining key functions for UK Commissions, and stating that with one exception the NIHRC had the requisite powers). Back

7   Included in most key Commission documents, for further statement see extract from Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2000) Strategic Plan 2000-02 (Belfast: Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission). Attached in Appendix III-not printed. Back

8   See also Livingstone, S. "The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission" 15 Irish Political Studies pp 163-171, at 170 (assessment of the Commission's first year, noting that the Commission is a "more visible and accessible body, which has shown itself willing to engage with a wide range of perspectives on human rights and which is already better known than SACHR."). Back

9   Ibid (where Livingstone argues that this is the key measure of whether the Commission "marks an advance over SACHR."). Back

10   Hosking, P. (2001) The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: An Evaluation of its Powers, Effectiveness and Structure (Auckland, New Zealand: Peter Hosking) at 8-10 (an internally commissioned review by Peter Hosking) (hereafter Hosking Review)Back

11   See Appendix II for copy of Paris Principles-not printed. Back

12   Minister, Paul Murphy MP, Hansard 18 November 1998, Column 1061; Lord Chancellor, Hansard 24 November 1997, Columns 832-4. Back

13   Lord Williams of Mostyn, Hansard, 10 November 1998; volume 594; column 711. Back

14   Section 69(2) Northern Ireland Act 1998. Back

15   In re Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Northern Ireland Court of Appeal, 8 December 2000 Back

16   See NIHRC Review of Powers at 37, citing lack of co-operation by Northern Ireland Office, St Patrick's Juvenile Justice Centre and the Western Health and Social Services Board. Back

17   See NIHRC Review of Powers. Back

18   Northern Ireland Office (2002), The Government's Response to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's Review of Powers Recommendations: A Paper for Consultation (NIO, May 2002). The accepted recommendations were No. 3 (control over staffing), No. 10 (further reports on implementation), No. 13 (regard being paid to the Commission's recommendations), Nos. 20-21 (consultation and monitoring of human rights education) and No. 25 (express provision on incidental powers), see further NIHRC (2002) Response to the UK Government's Consultation Paper on the Review of the Powers of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (Belfast: NIHRC) (hereafter Review of Powers Response) at 2. Back

19   In re Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (Northern Ireland) HL 20 June 2002, [2002] UKHL 25. Back

20   Review of Powers Response at 2. Back

21   Hosking Review at 10-11. Back

22   See Committee on the Administration of Justice (2002) Government's Response to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's Review of Powers Recommendations (Belfast: CAJ, July 2002) at 2-7 (documenting attacks on the Commission and the government's ambivalent responses). Back

23   Ibid. Back

24   NIHRC (1999) Draft Strategic Plan 1999-2002 (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

25   NIHRC (2000) Strategic Plan 2000-02 (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

26   NIHRC (2002) Draft Strategic Plan 2002-06 issued for consultation May 2002 (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

27   Jordan v United Kingdom Application No. 24746/94, Kelly v United Kingdom Application No. 30054/96, McKerr v United Kingdom Application No. 28883/85 and Shanaghan v United Kingdom Application No. 3775/97, judgment 4 May 2001. For further discussion of the case, see N-« Aola«in, F. (2001) "Truth Telling, Accountability and the Right to Life in Northern Ireland" [2002] E.H.R.L.R. 572-590 (Professor N-« Aola«in, was the author of the Commission's third party intervention in the case). Back

28   See further Livingstone, S. (2000) "The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission" 15 Irish Political Studies 263-171, at 172. Back

29   Hosking Review at 10-11. Back

30   Ibid. Back

31   This approach was of course the only one available during the period when there was no power of third party intervention. Back

32   NIHRC Review of Powers at 21. Back

33   The "Holy Cross" case was the cause of new procedures as regards "controversial" cases-whereby the Commission as a whole takes the decision, and also was the cause of new criteria being developed for review of funding of cases. Back

34   A union review of the former caseworker's terms and conditions indicated that the caseworker was inappropriately paid for the level of work, and hours required. Back

35   NIHRC (2002) In Our Care: Promoting the Rights of Children in Custody (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

36   NIHRC (2002) Response to the Report of the Post Primary Review Body (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

37   See NIHRC web site at at "Rights of Victims and Survivors". Back

38   See various contributions in 2001 "Special Double Issue on the Proposed Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland" 52 Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly. Back

39   See further Commission web site. Back

40   NIHRC Minutes of the 44th Commission Meeting held on Monday 12 August 2002. Back

41   See NIHRC Making a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland: A Consultation by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (Belfast: NIHRC) at 24-28. Back

42   A letter from NIO (Clare Salters) dated 14 May 2002 indicates that this and work on monitoring police recording of batton round use had already previously been committed and could not be duplicated. Back

43   NIHRC Review of Powers Response at 3 (the Commission noted arguments "raised by friends and critics alike". The Commission officially based its dropping of this recommendation on the grounds that "it would need significant additional resources to ensure that it was able to exercise it effectively, either by training existing staff or by appointing new staff". Ibid.) Back

44   This is alluded to in NIHRC Annual General Report 2001-02 (Belfast: NIHRC). Back

45   For example, parades, a possible US visit, a conference jointly with the British Council (where Commissioners expressed concerns in a discussion which was not completed, leaving the issue as a matter of report in subsequent meeting); interface violence; and letter to Chief Constable in "Holy Cross" case. Back

46   The strongest example of this is in relation to the "Holy Cross" case which raised issues (still not dealt with) over the corporate responsibility of Commissioners, the propriety of communications between the Chief Commission and the respondent, and questions over the propriety of the Commission's dealing with the applicant it was funding. Back

47   Private correspondence between Christine Bell and the Chief Commissioner, May-June 2002. Back

48   See International Council on Human Rights Policy (2000) Performance and Legitimacy: National Human Rights Institutions (Switzerland: International Council on Human Rights). Back

49   See further Bell, C. (2000) Peace Agreements and Human Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press) at 229-232; cf. also De Bu«rca, G. (1995) "The Language of Rights and European Integration" in J. Shaw and G. More (eds.) New Legal Dynamics of European Union (Oxford: Clarendon Press) 29-54 (arguing that this dual function exists with regard to the Charter of Rights debate in the European Union). Back

50   These are drawn from International Council on Human Rights Policy (2000) Performance and Legitimacy: National Human Rights Institutions (Switzerland: International Council on Human Rights). Back

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